California Senate Passes Bill Criminalizing “Misgendering”

California State Senator Scott Weiner, feeling empowered by the lack of a conservative movement in his state, is attempting to criminalize traditional values. His “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights,” which was recently passed by the state senate, would make it a crime to “misgender” nursing home residents by referring to them according to their birth names and the sex inferred by their chromosomes.

Generally, traditionalists reject the “progressive” premise that society should treat men as if they were women so long as they claim to be women and vice versa. We don’t think it is appropriate to open all locker rooms, bathrooms, showers and sports teams to people of all biological sexes.

We acknowledge that there are real, measurable differences between men and women and that these differences should be reflected in some areas of society. Floyd Mayweather should not be in the boxing ring with a woman.  Young boys and girls should not be in locker rooms with unrelated adults of the opposite sex, sometimes showering within arms-reach of them. Women should not be forced to compete against men for athletic scholarships. Society can function properly only if these distinctions are acknowledged and respected. I contend, if I could be so bold, that the claims made in this paragraph are self-evident moral truths that any clear-thinking individual would recognize.

Senator Weiner has other ideas about how society should function. He believes that nursing home staff who point out inherent differences between men and women should be jailed. The current bill would apply only to patients in nursing homes, but there is very little doubt that California progressives aspire to expand the bill’s application once it’s in place. Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who specializes in First Amendment issues, wrote for The Washington Post that

“this proposed statute would on its face extend beyond just speech to the client, and would also cover speech about the client (since the relevant pronouns, whether ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘ze’ or anything else, are third-person pronouns that are generally used when talking to someone else about the person). And it strikes me as pretty unlikely that, if this law is enacted, such prohibitions would be limited just to this scenario (compare the official New York City Commission on Human Rights guidance, which says that ‘intentional or repeated refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title’ could lead to massive fines when done by any employer, landlord, or business or professional).”

It appears likely the bill will be passed and enacted into law. It has already passed the state senate and received unanimous approval from the state’s house judiciary committee. America’s largest state may soon be erasing biological truth and compelling Californians to accept biological falsehoods.

As Washingtonians, it is important to keep an eye on what is happening in New York, Oregon, and California. These are the states where the progressive left has total control. That which is proposed in California today could very easily be proposed in Washington tomorrow. Just look at the Washington State Department of Health’s announcement that it will pursue a “third-gender option” on Washington birth certificates. Unfortunately, California isn’t the only state attempting to use legislation to change objective truths.

“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?” -George Orwell, 1984


James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.


 

Proposed New Rule Would Allow “Third-Gender Option” on WA Birth Certificates

The Washington State Department of Health has announced its intention to adopt a new rule allowing a “third-gender option” on birth certificates.

If implemented, the new rule would formalize the department’s process for changing sex designation on birth certificates and add an option for a “non-binary” sex designation.

The Department of Health plans to begin gathering comments on the proposed rule next month. It hopes the rule will be adopted and implemented by January 2018.

In 2009, the Washington State Department of Licensing made it more difficult for Washingtonians to change their gender designation on driver’s licenses in an effort to reduce identity fraud and aid policing. The department has since reversed its policies.

Washington State isn’t alone in its proposal to offer a “third-gender option” on government documents. Oregon became the first state to offer the option on driver’s licenses and state ID cards in June, and California will shortly follow suit if a bill recently passed by the state legislature is signed by the governor.

The California bill faced opposition from the California Family Council, which “believes government documents need to reflect biological facts for identification and medical purposes,” said Greg Burt, the organization’s director of capitol engagement.

“Eye color, hair color, height, weight, and Sex: These are all listed on a driver’s license because these physical characteristics can be independently verified by physical evidence,” he said. “If you allow someone who is physically male to list themselves on a government document as a female, or vice a versa, then the government will be legalizing a lie.”

Up north, Canadians can now choose the “gender X” designation on their passports after their government changed its policy earlier this week.

Commenting on the “gender X” designation now available on Canadian passports, Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews that “the government is trying to force its citizenry, en masse, to deny scientific fact and biological reality.”

According to Fonseca, the “sexual revolutionaries” pushing for these changes “are willing to put our country’s national security and our privacy at risk.”

The Collateral Damage of the War on Reality

As two more recent stories indicate, the war on gender has nothing to do with bathrooms.

In the first story, a Canadian parent wants their child’s birth certificate to be the first to identify a baby as neither male or female. The parent, who identifies as neither male or female, had this to say about the baby.

“I’m recognizing them as a baby and trying to give them all the love and support to be the most whole person that they can be outside of the restrictions that come with the boy box and the girl box.”

While all of this started as a call for compassion for the tiny percentage of the population who feel like they are the “other” gender,  it has quickly led to rejecting the idea that there is anything that can be known from one’s anatomy.

But asking children to reach conclusions about things they know nothing about is self-evidently silly.

When a child asks “What am I?”, it doesn’t help if all the adults look back at them and ask, “I don’t know, what are you?”

The adults are supposed to know things the kids don’t.

Still, it could be worse.

While some parents are choosing not to impose a gender, other parents don’t have the same patience.

In this story, three, queer parents of a three-year-old that they dubbed “queerspawn” have determined that their child is transgender.  The author of this story describes himself as transgender and asexual.  He says this about the child.

He was assigned female at birth, but his non-conforming behavior was clear and consistent from day one. It started with his hair. He hated wearing it long, and he hated it when we did anything with it. No ponytails, no braids — nothing. He also refused to wear dresses and skirts.

The child probably can’t be trusted to sleep through the night without wetting the bed, but we’re supposed to believe she has a grasp on gender norms as expressed through hair length and clothing and the awareness to understand both their significance, how to reject them, and the consequences of doing so.

While sure their child is transgender, they now wonder whether she will be queer as well.

I don’t wish him any more marginalization and oppression than he’ll already face as a trans person. But I can’t help but think that if he’s queer, there’ll be yet another community he can join, another supportive place for him to vent about that oppression. There are other queer people who will listen and sympathize with him beyond his family. He will need those people when he gets older and flies away from us.

Some parents hope their kids have an adventure, a healthy family, a place that makes them happy, and life-long love.

Other parents label their three-year-old transgender, hope she is attracted to men, which they say would make her gay because they think she’s a boy, and then hope she finds a community to vent about oppression.

Sadly, in 2017, this qualifies as parenting.

I have no doubt these parents want the best for their child.

But it’s hard to know what is good for your child when your view of the world has replaced the concepts of “good” and “bad” with “preferred” or “not preferred.”

We can all understand the appeal of a world is which nothing is inherently wrong, and the only possible consequences of our behavior were environmental which would allow us to manage the fallout by simply fixing the environment.

If, however, that world doesn’t actually exist, if our pursuit of our preferences continues to collide with the natural laws of the universe, the only actual outcome of our pursuits will be pain.

As is usually the case when adults make mistakes, kids will end up as collateral damage in our war on reality.

 

 

Washington State’s Bathroom Laws: Remedying Discrimination with Discrimination

In December 2015, a new Washington State rule took effect mandating that both public and private entities allow individuals to access sex-segregated facilities—including restrooms, locker rooms, and “facilities where undressing in the presence of others occurs”—according to their preferred gender expression or identity. In other words, public and private entities must allow men claiming to identify as women to use facilities designated for women, and vice versa for women claiming to identify as men.

For good reason, pro-family Washingtonians have started a campaign to collect enough signatures to get Initiative 1552 on the November ballot. I-1552 would “require schools to maintain separate facilities for boys and girls and allow businesses to manage private areas in the way they feel is best for them.”

Aside from the obvious privacy and safety issues the “bathroom rule” raises, it is revealing to consider how the rule suffers from a more immediate defect: fundamental incoherence. To see why, one merely needs to observe how Leftists have twisted our understanding of sex to make the case for their social agenda—thereby establishing an arrangement that implements the very type of discrimination that they purport to be combatting.

Federal and state laws forbid discrimination on the basis of sex, and have done so since the mid-twentieth century. Yet a commonsense exception to these laws has always existed to allow public and private entities to separate facilities based on biological sex. For example, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 forbids educational institutions from discriminating based on sex. If the dictates of this law were applied without exception, they would forbid schools, colleges, and universities from separating bathrooms or locker rooms based on sex. Realizing the problems inherent in this application, regulators carved out an exception for sex-based discrimination in restrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities, so long as the facilities provided for each sex are “comparable.” Similarly, Washington State’s law governing public school facilities allows school districts to provide separate facilities (including toilets and showers) for male and female students.

These exceptions to anti-discrimination laws stood in place for decades without eliciting the faintest public protest. Individuals with male genitalia used facilities designated and designed for men, and those with female genitalia used facilities designated and designed for women.[1] Moreover, when these anti-discrimination laws were written, there was no concept of “gender identity” or “gender expression” as separate from biological understanding of sex.[2]  This means sex-segregated facilities have, since their inception, discriminated on the basis of sex.

The new theoretical distinction between gender identity/expression and biological sex has triggered all sorts of problems where none existed previously. Nevertheless, the Washington State Legislature decided to codify the distinction by forbidding discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Nearly ten years later, Washington’s Human Rights Commission—an entity created by the Washington Legislature to administer and enforce Washington’s anti-discrimination law—issued the December 2015 bathroom rule.

The Human Rights Commission’s Executive Director, Sharon Ortiz, insisted at the time that the rule simply clarifies existing state anti-discrimination law. This should come as a surprise to those of us who have read the law in question, which explicitly protects “[t]he right to be free from discrimination because of . . . sexual orientation,” with “sexual orientation” defined as “heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender expression or identity.”[3] This right encompasses “[t]he right to the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations . . . [and] facilities,” such as public restrooms, free from gender identity/expression-based discrimination.

Yet far from forbidding such discrimination, the December 2015 bathroom rule in fact codifies gender identity-based discrimination. Facilities labeled for women, for instance, are now accessible only to individuals who identify as women, regardless of their genitalia. Biological men who identify as women have the same access to women’s facilities as biological women who identify as women. Biological men who identify as men, as well as biological women who identify as men, may NOT access those same facilities. Likewise, facilities labeled for men are accessible only to individuals who identify as men, again regardless of their biological sex. The distinction is not based on sex but on the gender with which one identifies. In other words, the new rule purporting to interpret a law forbidding discrimination based on gender identity effectively discriminates based on gender identity.

The Commission could argue that transgender males (biological women who claim to identify as men) and transgender females (biological men who claim to identify as women) do not have to use the facilities that conform to their gender identity. However, this arrangement would contradict the Human Rights Commission’s own guidance on the bathroom rule. Per the Commission’s “Questions and Answers” document released in tandem with the rule, “Only females can go into women’s bathrooms or locker rooms in a gender segregated situation. This includes transgender females [i.e., biological men] who identify as female.”[4] (The same, one would presume, applies to biological and transgender males).

Even if the Commission were to suggest otherwise (or simply amend the guidance document), forcing men identifying as men and women identifying as women to use the facilities that match their biological sex while allowing transgender males and transgender females to select whichever facilities they please would constitute further discrimination, this time on the basis of both sex and gender identity. Instead of eliminating discrimination, the Commission has simply replaced one form of discrimination with another.

In reality, the Human Rights Commission is not trying to eradicate discrimination. The purpose of the rule was to force on society a new radical scheme of social engineering.

To remedy these circumstances, Washington voters would do well to pass I-1552 and restore order to an arrangement plagued with incoherence.


Christina is a freelance legal blogger from the “other” Washington (Washington, D.C.). She received her law degree from American University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.


[1] Exceptions, of course, existed. Young children, for instance, are allowed to use the facilities that conform to the sex of the parent or guardian whom they are accompanying, even if the child’s sex does not match that of the parent/guardian (i.e., mothers can bring their young sons into the women’s restroom).

[2] For those not yet familiar with the terms, “gender identity” is defined as “[o]ne’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.” According to this theory, one’s gender identity may not be the same as one’s biological sex. Similarly, “gender expression” is the “external appearance of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice.” Again, one may choose to express a gender that is different from his or her biological sex.

[3] Ironically, Leftists also insist “sexual orientation”— “an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people”—has nothing to do with one’s gender expression or identity. However, the law equates gender expression and gender identity—two concepts that are distinct in Progressive parlance. It seems the Washington Legislature hasn’t quite grasped the nuances of Progressive gender theory.

[4] The Commission released a Q&A document, “Questions and Answers Regarding WAC 162-32-060,” containing answers to frequently asked questions concerning the December 2015 bathroom rule. In response to the question, “Can men now go into women’s bathrooms or locker rooms?” the Commission responds with an emphatic “No.”

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DOJ Ends Effort to Force Men into Spaces for Women and Girls

Last week, Jeff Sessions was confirmed as President Trump’s new attorney general to lead the Department of Justice. It has taken only days for the impact to be felt across the country.

On Friday, the Department of Justice signaled that it is ending efforts to force school districts to allow boys into girls facilities as a condition of receiving federal funding.

Last year, the Obama Justice Department invented new definitions of the term male and female under Title IX (without legislative input) that had the effect of forcing school districts to choose between the privacy of their students and the availability of federal education funds.

Twenty-four states had challenged the new interpretations, and a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the order on December 31st.

The next hearing was set for Tuesday, February 14th in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

However, on Friday, both parties filed a joint notice with the court to cancel the hearing.

This comes as welcome news to school districts across the country.

The timing of this issue is helpful for supporters of privacy in Washington State as well.  This week, Just Want Privacy will be distributing petitions for Initiative 1552, which would overturn a mandate from Washington State’s Human Right’s Commission that forces schools and businesses to allow men into women’s facilities.

An initiative effort failed to gather enough signatures in 2016.  But Just Want Privacy did not wait for the legislature to act this year.  They believe that having nearly five months to gather signatures instead of 9 weeks will allow the volunteer effort sufficient time to qualify for the ballot.

But the effort will again depend entirely on volunteers.  Everyone who cares about maintaining safe spaces for women and children in Washington schools and businesses is encouraged to become a volunteer, request a petition, and make a contribution.

Opponents of efforts to protect privacy in Washington State had previously argued that those efforts would jeopardize federal education funding.

The DOJ’s new position indicates that will no longer be a concern.